Comedian and actor receive honorary degrees from UEL

Ruby Wax being honoured

Ruby Wax being honoured - Credit: Archant

Two celebrities were presented with honorary degrees at the University of East London’s graduation ceremony.

Ann Mitchell

Ann Mitchell - Credit: Archant

EastEnders star Ann Mitchell and comedian Ruby Wax were both honoured for their achievements at the Indigo, at Greenwich’s O2, on Thursday.

The soap star was nominated to pick up the arts and digital honorary degree, while Ruby, who is also a mental health campaigner, picked hers up for psychology.

Both gave acceptance speeches on stage in front of the thousands of students graduating from the university.

Ann, 77, said: “It means a huge amount to me because I come from a background where my beloved grandmother couldn’t read or write and from a family who struggled and didn’t have the opportunity for education. This this means a lot as they fought hard for me to have the opportunities I’ve had in life.

Ruby Wax

Ruby Wax - Credit: Archant

“This means a great deal to me, not just for myself, but for my family and my community.”

Meanwhile 63-year-old comic Ruby, who graduated from Kellogg College, Oxford, three years ago with a masters degree in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.

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She said of giving her speech: “It’s exciting because I didn’t have to do a lot of talking, but then when I did, I find if you talk from the heart it doesn’t matter if you screw up, which I did.”

Dr Pippa Dell, acting dean of psychology, said: “We really wanted to have a role model who shows resilience and is doing well.

“As she said in her speech she is a rottweiler, she will not let things get her down, so it’s a fantastic role model for our students to see someone being honoured, who is not frightened of failing and I think we don’t learn much if we always succeed.”

Former recipients of honorary doctorates include ex-West Ham star Bobby Barnes and MP Steven Norris.